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Criminal Justice Close-Up: An Examination of the Trial Process

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This is a brief discussion of the American jury system--how and why it works and what, if anything, should be done to improve it.
A moderator from John Jay College leads the discussion with James Levine, Executive Officer of the PhD in Criminal Justice program at the City University of New York and Professor of Government at John Jay College, and Jeff Kern, Senior Assistant District Attorney for Kings County, NY. The discussion begins with a brief look at the history of the jury system, and then moves to questions of specific aspects of today's system: (1) Does the selection process result in juries composed of people who couldn't find a way to get out of it? (2) If a jury is intended to reflect the community, what about the practice of "tailoring" a jury by selecting only members who are likely to support one side or the other? (3) Do "jury consultants," who evaluate potential jurors' attitudes, backgrounds, appearance, etc., constitute jury tampering in a non-legal sense? (4) Are sequestration of juries and requirement for unanimous decisions positive or negative factors? (5) Would a 6-person jury be as representative of the community as a 12-person jury? and (6) Is the jury a political institution and, if so, what are the ramifications?


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